380 Kingairloch to Lochaline (abandoned)

[Note: this walk was attempted on the 29th June 2018]

I camped overnight in a parking area off the Kingairloch road, where a friendly notice assured me that overnight campers were welcome.

Today, I was planning to walk 14 miles along the road to Lochaline. It should have been straightforward, because it was another glorious sunny day, and the route was downhill all the way. My only worry was the return journey, and the long cycle ride back up from Lochaline. My monster of a bike doesn’t like going uphill.

I needn’t have worried about the cycle ride. Something much worse was waiting for me…

…I’d forgotten about the horseflies!

As soon as I set off, the pesky things surrounded me. Despite the heat, I was forced to pull on my long-sleeved top, and douse myself in insecticide. But nothing deterred the horrible flies. They dive bombed my face, and seemed to enjoy inhaling the stinky poison I’d covered my skin with.

When I stopped for a quick toilet break, I picked up a couple of bites on my bum. Ow!

I managed a few hundred yards, and then I decided to abandon the walk. Just not worth putting myself through misery and risking more bites. After all, I’ve been walking for seven days, and covered over 80 miles on foot, and several more miles by bike… so I hadn’t done too badly.

It was time to go home.

Miles walked today = 0

Abandoning the walk was not my only disappointment. I had hoped all this walking would help me come to a decision about my marriage, but I was still undecided and uncertain. At this point, I‘d been living apart from my husband for 10 months, and I knew it wasn’t fair to continue with our relationship in limbo. I had asked for time and space, and it was up to me to reconcile myself to the things I’d discovered, things that had happened twenty years ago, and to try to forgive him.

One minute, I wanted our marriage to continue. The next minute, I didn’t want to continue our marriage. I was stuck. Despite all this walking and thinking, I had made no real progress.

Sadly, things were about to get much worse. Perhaps I should have taken more notice of the omens along the way – because over the past few days I’d seen lots of signs and portents of dangers ahead.

Well, I don’t really believe in omens or supernatural messages, but I do believe my unconscious mind was trying to warn me of something.

Anyway, a few weeks after returning home, I discovered that my husband was involved in a three-year affair with a former work colleague and mutual friend. Three years! And the affair had continued during our separation. All this time.

The way forward instantly became very clear. It was almost a relief to make the decision. Our marriage was over.


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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45 Responses to 380 Kingairloch to Lochaline (abandoned)

  1. Christine Williams says:

    Sorry to hear your news, but at least the decision was easy in the end. I’m sure you will go on to a fresh start without that deceiving person. (My thoughts use stronger words for him). All the near for your future walks and of course for your life.

  2. john harkness says:

    I am so sorry to hear the sad news about your marriage. I can’t think of anything very upbeat to say. Keep on walking.
    We are just walking round England – starting in Bournemouth, we have got to Skegness after 8 years. John

    • Ah, hello John. I was wondering how you and your companions were getting on. I’m afraid the Lincolnshire coast is a little boring (I haven’t walked it yet, of course) but you’ll enjoy Norfolk and Suffolk. I’m guessing you find route-planning easier now so many sections are designated as part of the official England Coast Path.

  3. Philip Simpson says:

    Gordon Bennett, Ruth! Reading this makes me think you’ve been to hell and back. I do wish you the very best. It seems like you came too a fork in the road, which path do I take? Well,I think ultimately you took the right path.
    I am recovering today after a 25 mile walk from Land’s End too St Loy ( and back ). Did you find that stretch strenuous? I found some of the ascents/descents quite tough!

    • Hi Philip, it’s been a difficult couple of years, but things are much improved now. 25 miles!!! A long way. Not sure where St Loy is, but I do remember the stretches either side of Land’s End were tougher in reality than they looked on the map!

      • Philip Simpson says:

        Hi Ruth. St Loy is situated between Lamorna and Porthcurno.I couldn’t have continued beyond the 9 miles mark without applying a Blister plaster too one of my toes! Hope you are able to continue your excellent walks this summer. I like reading your blogs, but I don’t have any plans to walk the entire coast of the country!

  4. Eunice says:

    I’m so sorry to read this Ruth. To be honest, when I first read about your problems I was hoping that you could work something out and stay together – after all, why let something that happened 20 years ago spoil what you’ve had since – but there’s no going back from this bombshell. Whatever you decide to do I wish you well – and please keep walking if you can otherwise I’ll miss following this bog and ‘walking’ with you x

    • Hi Eunice. Yes, I was expecting our marriage to continue, but there is no going back now. Of course I will continue my walking – it has been keeping me sane – and I’ve lots of writing up to do for this year. All these distractions have stopped me from keeping up with other walkers’ blogs too, so I look forward to catching up with yours. BW, Ruth

  5. Brian Williamson says:

    Sorry to hear that, I can’t get down to The South Coast Path in West Cornwall, because of lack of cash. Am being sent on Security Gaurd Course by jobcentre, so maybe next year, it will always be there, and maybe I’ll retire down that way!
    Brian Williamson

  6. Jane says:

    Ruth. what an awful time you have had and what a sad conclusion to some to. I hope the sea has brought you some consolation and that you have continued to walk. So many people value your blog and I am sure we are all behind you wishing you well.

  7. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, back to the walking…………………… Remember biking is a last resort as cycling in this neck of the woods not the same as cycling around Spalding…obvious I know. So there is a bus service from Lochaline towards Fort William so work your walk around around that and be prepared to travel in reverse. Check out the school holidays, most of the Ardgour peninsula is covered by a bus service.
    Horseflies/Clegs are evil little BAST%^&ds, so if they bother get a midge net hat and where thin gloves. I remember cycling down from a Munro with a swarm of these in tow!
    As for the rest of the omens, the friskiest and scariest bovines are restricted to The Rhinns of Galloway, Highland cattle are docile, Road Ahead signs are just for vehicles, Banksy impersonators are generally very nice, especially when you get to know them and finally Golden-ringed Dragonflies are harmless.
    So start planning your next trip, the summer is almost upon us.
    BTW, just back home after finally reaching Cape Wrath, so onwards to John O’Groasts then its all downhill then LOL

    • Hi Alan, cycling is certainly tough around this area – all those darn hills! Well done for reaching Cape Wrath. Congratulations! I know that’s an enormous milestone to conquer. I must catch up with your blog, and I’m wondering which route you took…

  8. Jacquie says:

    Nothing to offer other than been there, have the T-shirt and deepest sympathies, it’s awful but we come through and the sun does shine again.
    However, horseflies! We were attacked while rowing in the middle of the Thames. Awful things
    Just completing the Pembrokeshire CP in glorious weather. Walking is wonderful

    • Hi Jacquie, yes, I know life will continue to improve and I’m very positive about the future. Horseflies were terrible last year. When I got home, I discovered the papers were full of stories about them – plagues of the wretched things all over the UK. Hoping it is better this year.
      I’m sure you’re loving the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and good you can make the most of this wonderful sunshine.

  9. Di Ikes says:

    Ruth, I was on the Isle of Mull that same hot week last year and one of my walks, Lochbuie to Carsaig (14 miles), although beautiful, was an absolute nightmare with the horseflies, I was near to tears. Even out at sea on our kayak that week they were horrendous. Midgies weren’t a problem just those horrible horseflies.
    I am so terribly sorry hear about your marriage, this must be devastating. Sending my most positive wishes to you.

  10. deevmom says:

    Ruth, I am so sorry to hear about your marriage troubles. I went through a divorce many years ago and feared that I would never be happy again. I thought I would never have a loving relationship again. But, I have been married to a wonderful, kind man, for nearly 35 years now. Keep walking and taking those lovely photos. And please, please keep writing. You are so inspiring to me.

    • Ah, thank you. Everybody has been so kind to me, and I’m glad I shared my troubles here. (I nearly didn’t, because it is quite hard to write about, as you can imagine.) It’s comforting to know that many other people have been in similar situations and survived. Yes, I WILL keep walking and will keep writing too. Best wishes.

  11. Eunice has expressed my feelings exactly so I shan’t say much more. Just so, so sorry about what happened.

  12. patriz2012 says:

    Really sorry to hear about the break up but “this too shall pass”. Keep walking and writing, your blog is invaluable to me as a source of information.

  13. I admire your honesty.
    That was last year and you are now able to write about it – so what are your plans for this year or are you already travelling?

  14. Maura says:

    I am so sorry for your loss! I have a similar experience (long term marriage, discovery of multi-year affair from 20+ years ago and more recent discovery of new betrayals, divorce). Please take care of yourself. The first few years after a breakups like yours is a difficult road.

    I have always found your walks to be very inspiring. I admire your courage for sharing your life story. I look forward to reading about your journey ahead. Please feel free to contact me if you ever want to chat. We are all rooting for you!

    • Hi Maura, and thank you very much for taking the time to comment and sharing some of your own story. It’s like a bereavement, isn’t it? But without all the flowers and sympathy.

  15. jcombe says:

    Those Horse flies do sound very unpleasant. I came across a few last summer, but not in anything like those numbers. I’ve just got back from Scotland myself and whilst I didn’t notice any midge bites my ankles are now covered in bites, so there must have been some about. I did get some of that Smidge stuff but didn’t think to put it on my ankles!

    I’m really sorry to hear of your marriage problems and know that it must be very hard for you. I’m sure it must have been hard for you to write up too. It is none of our business of course but I’m glad that you felt you could share it. I’m glad too that you have been able to continue walking and at least I hope it has given you something postiive to focus on and perhaps might help you. You have a lot of readers who I’m sure are glad to hear of your latest adventures!

    • Hi Jon, yes, I’ve collected midge bites on my ankles too. As we’ve discovered, they like to fly up your trouser legs! Hope you had a great time walking, and I’m longing to get back up there now.

  16. Maura says:

    It is a bereavement! I believe we go thru same process as when a spouse of many years dies. The difference is that in this case, the lost spouse keeps popping up now and then (if one shares adult children and grandchildren). It makes the grieving process and letting go much more difficult. It can also take a long time to reorganize and often, reconstruct, personal and family memories. I wish you the best.

  17. Maura says:

    I wanted to mention a technical problem I am having and I cannot find where else to address it. I follow a few WordPress travel blogs and when I post a comment, I provide my email address and name and leave the website input box blank. Your website’s comment section requires me to put in a website name or use facebook or twitter account. I am not on facebook or twitter, and no longer use my WordPress webpage. If I try to leave that the website field blank, it will not let me post a comment. If there is a way to post comments without a website address, please let me know. (the problem could possibly be on my end) thx

    • Ruth Livingstone says:

      Hmm. That’s odd, and very frustrating

      • I managed to comment (above) with a new email address, and without WordPress knowing who I was, so you should be able to comment on THIS blog by simply entering your email address and name. Please let me know if you can’t.

        Unfortunately, you can also set up a WordPress blog requiring commentators to register and login with WordPress. I think a lot of bloggers don’t understand how to turn this off.

        • Maura Clevenger says:

          Hi Ruth, No, it won’t let me post a comment using my gmail address. I figured out that the problem has to do with WordPress. When I click on your blog link, my inactive WordPress account opens up (I can see my WordPress account to the left) If I try and enter any information into your comment section, besides my yahoo email address associated with my inactive Wordress account, I get an error. I am not going to worry about this.  I rarely post comments on your blog and my comment will post if I include my inactive WordPress url. Thanks for checking on this. I did not want other blog readers to have a problem posting.

  18. Trish Lane says:

    Hi Ruth, so sorry to hear about your marriage problems, l can sympathise, been there with 5year old child, and come out the other end. It’s very hard you find out who your real friends are at the same time and life changes. But you end up stronger and able to enjoy life more. When I first followed your blog I was walking south west coast path but had to abandon it for a year as I developed planter fasciilitis, reading your blog helped to keep me going and I did wonder why you stopped. Now, a year later my foot is much improved and I have started to walk again. I have Crackington Haven to Charlestown to do (I have walked in both directions). Look forward to reading about your walk and looking at the photos. Keep walking

    • Hi Trish, and thank you for the words of encouragement. Plantar fasciitis is horrible, but glad to hear you are now able to continue your walking. I remember the stretches of SWCP around Crackington Haven were brutally challenging, but very beautiful. Good luck and keep going!

  19. Sometimes, just making the decision (right or wrong) is what’s needed. Life is literally the journey … physically or meta-physically 🙂

  20. Karen White says:

    I am sorry that your marriage ended in such a way, but it seems he did not want to repair the damage or he wouldn’t have continued the affair during your separation. Very sad when you think you know everything about someone. I hope the year since you made your decision has given you the time and space you need to move forward and rebuild your life. Take care of yourself.

    • Ive been lucky, really, Karen. Ive had the full support of my daughters, and been able to afford to leave my old home in Lincolnshire and make a new home for myself in Manchester. And, of course, this walking project has given me a continuing purpose and focus, for which I’m very grateful.

  21. Marie Keates says:

    Oh Ruth. I’m so sorry to hear about your horrible discovery. I think you made the only decision you could in the circumstances. Cheaters always cheat. Best not to spend your whole life waiting for the next time. You are worth so much more than that.

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